How can you manage a spread-out team?

How to manage remote working within your team

The explosion of technology has meant that flexible working and a 24/7 working culture is now commonplace. We can email, have web meetings and collaborate online just as we would do in the office, offering both businesses and individuals the best of both worlds.

For many, being in the office every day therefore makes little sense if work can be done just as well remotely. Added to this, employees are often seeking a good quality of life, flexible working hours and a generous holiday allowance. Studies show that allowing employees to work remotely boosts both productivity and loyalty. Despite this, many firms are still reticent to take the leap into flexible working.

Trust is paramount

Engaging staff is the key to making sure they use their time efficiently. For example, they could tackle onerous and time-consuming tasks at home, and come into the office to brainstorm and discuss with other team members.
Your staff must be able to trust you will communicate properly with them, despite them not being physically present. Nothing creates staff disengagement faster than employees feeling they are being kept in the dark on important issues.

Find a middle ground

Just as insisting staff are at their desks all day every day could lead to a counter-productive culture of ‘presenteeism’, so there are risks if staff never sees each other or their managers. Ultimately, they could end up contributing less to the company. It is important to find a middle ground, and also to make people feel a part of the office culture even if physically they aren’t there.

Use technology wisely

It is vital to invest in reliable systems, so employees think of their home as an extension of the office. This ensures discipline, contentment and efficiency. Cloud-based systems ensure that documents and emails can be accessed remotely, and you should insist employees have a good wifi system ensures, so they feel well connected, whatever technology they are using.

Lead by example

To avoid negative perceptions of homeworking, this culture must be embraced from the top down. All members must be easily contactable and transparent, including senior managers.

Measure productivity

Silence the cynics by measuring productivity, so you have hard stats to back up a remote working policy. Numbers speak for themselves, rather than relying on staff feedback.

Make time in the office count

Think about which activities will add value to time spent in the office, whether that is a dedicated group brainstorm sessions or catch-ups with management. If employees feel positive after a day in the office, they are more likely to remain engaged while working remotely.


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